The Hokitika i-SITE Visitor Centre, Carnegie Building, Tancred and Hamilton streets, Hokitika (tel. 03/755-6166; fax 03/755-5011; www.hokitika.org), is open December through April daily from 8:30am to 6pm, May through November Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Twenty-five minutes south of Hokitika, the Ross Goldfields Information & Heritage Centre, 4 Aylmer St., Ross (tel. 03/755-4077; www.ross.org.nz), is open daily in summer from 9am to 4pm, and in winter from 9am to 3pm. Admission to the History Museum is NZ$2 for adults, free for kids. Gold panning costs NZ$11 per person, and gold pan hire is NZ$10 per day.
Note: If you're traveling farther south, Hokitika is the last stop for banks, ATMs, pharmacies, and major supermarkets until you reach Wanaka, 450km (279 miles) away. For more information on this area check www.hokitika.com and www.westlanddc.govt.nz.
If you're in the area around the second Saturday in March, stop in Hokitika for the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival (tel. 03/756-9048 or 756-9045; www.wildfoods.co.nz). On the easy side of things, you'll be able to sample wild pig, venison, wild herbs, honey, and fish from local waters; the much braver visitor might like to try possum pâté, wild goat, wriggling grubs, and the unmentionable parts of a variety of animals. The general motto here is close your eyes, swallow, and ask questions later! Admission is NZ$30 for adults, NZ$5 for children, and ticket numbers are limited to 17,000 each year. It's a crazy get-together that will give you a real insight into the quirky character of the West Coast. Not to be missed if you're in the area. Note: If you intend to visit during the festival, make sure you book several months ahead, as the town is filled to capacity that weekend.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.